Thursday, June 11, 2009

State Archives Databases In Limbo

The June 2009 issue of the IGS Newsletter includes an article by Ron Darrah, a long-term volunteer at the Indiana State Archives, about several databases that Archives volunteers have done over the past few years that have yet to be put online and made available to the public. The article encouraged IGS members to contact State Archivist Jim Corridan and Governor Mitch Daniels concerning this issue. Darrah was subsequently contacted by State Archivist Jim Corridan, who expressed his disappointment with the article and told Darrah his services as a volunteer were no longer needed.

The issue of the databases and a timeline for them being posted online has yet to be addressed. Here is a listing provided by Ron Darrah of the databases and their progress:

Department of Correction (DOC) Databases
--Jeffersonville (DOC-Jeffersonville) 11,995 records
--Old State Prison North (Indiana State Prison North Inmate Index 1858-1897) 10,574 records
--New State Prison North (DOC-Prisoners) 34,428 records
--Boys School (DOC - Boys School) 12,376 records
--Girls School (DOC - Girls School Inmates) 5,670 records
[NOTE: Girls School files will be added in the future, as well as databases for the Reformatory from 1897 forward.]

Military Databases
--World War I - Book of Merit 1,626 records
--World War II - Gold Star 3,461 records
--Civil War - 200,000 records [proofing is nearly done]
--National Guard - 37,000 records [now at the letter K--there is the potential to reach approximately 100,000 records when complete]
--Early soldiers - approximately 20,000 records
--Mexican War - 4,783 records
--United Spanish American War Veterans Files - underway
--Upcoming Spanish American War - underway

Orphans and Foster Children Databases
--Foster Children Files - 10,691 records
--Foster Parent Applications - 1,462 records
--Orphanages and Other Licensed Institutions for Children 922 records
--Juliana Work - 4,628 records

Court Records Databases
--Marion County Loft 1 - 27,578 records
--Marion County Loft 2 - 23,614 records
--Marion County Loft 3 - 36,000 records [still increasing]

Naturalization Databases
--The Naturalization database that is currently online contains approximately 23,540 records. There are several additional smaller counties ready to be added. In the near future the volunteers hope to have more counties proofed and ready to be uploaded, including Marion County (23,226 records) and St. Joseph County (approximately 39,000 records). These two counties, along with various other counties (with considerably smaller tables) will triple the size of the current online Naturalization database.

Land Records Databases
--LaPorte-Winamac land office 18,785 records
--Fort Wayne land office 73,250 records
--General Land Office (Reserves) 2,579 records [already on the Indiana State Archives website]
--Vincennes land office 100,000+ records [soon to be finished]
--Terre Haute-Crawfordsville land office approximately 20,000 records [soon to be finished]


  1. This is an extreme disappointment to all volunteers and researchers who donate their time freely to assist libraries and archives. It would seem that rather than being "disappointed" in the article that the state archivist would at the very least explain why the databases were not put online. I would think that the state archives would find it difficult to keep volunteers.

  2. There are many, many of us researchers who are unable to travel or stay in Indianapolis on account of expenses. I think it would be a great service to the people of the state or the country for that matter to put all eligible works that are completed online for the public.
    Some do research and are handicapped also.
    Even if you put more info online and charged a small yearly fee to access them it would be better than not posting them.
    Hoping to see more available to the public online.
    Thank you.